recently joined the Diversity Leadership Institute
along with [Women's Center Interns] Krysten and Dominique. So far, we've
had two meetings on Sunday
night, where we meet with about 6 other students to discuss issues of
race perception and other related topics. This past week was especially
interesting. Paula [Lima-Jones, Director in the Office of Diversity
Initiatives] had us look at different photographs of people and
which race they belonged to. None of us wanted to do this, of course. It
so terrible to have to tell people which race we thought a certain
so judgmental--and it was. But that was the point--to get over our
misconceptions and judgment of others. Most people do this sort of thing
their head when they meet someone, not out of choice but almost like a
or a habit. This exercise really showed us the hidden prejudice within
us. It was very eye-opening and intimidating.
Why do we hate to admit out loud what we think privately?
Out of guilt? Because we know it's wrong? Because deep down inside, we hate
that we do it. Yet judging someone based on their appearance is so common and
expected in this world. Why do we allow social constructions to influence our
These were some of the questions I found myself asking
after I left. We also talked about the difference between how people see us and
how we see ourselves, regarding race. For me, because of my white skin and
disposition, I think most people would see me as Caucasian. However, while
doing this exercise, I realized that I view myself as Ukrainian-American,
because I am 3/4 Ukrainian and my family practices many of the same traditions
of that heritage and background.
The DLI is really helping me step outside the boundaries
of my own definitions as well as my preconceived definitions or ideas of
others. I'm really excited to see what next week brings!
Class of 2014, German and Women's and Gender Studies